Big city complexity

The trees that are slow to grow bear the best fruit.

Moliere

There’s this dream many people has…

In a few months, once my new job settles down a bit, I will have more time to take care of myself and my family. I will declutter my house, exercise three times a week, start that extra fitness course. Then I will have more energy and cook more healthy food, spend more time with my family to show them how much they really mean to me. I will have time to finally, finally dive again into the hobby of mine that I have stopped doing ages ago… I will take Chinese brush painting course that I have been only reading about. Yes, I will be able to do all of that… in no time.

That’s what I have thought so too. Being raised in a calm, artistic city located in a mountain area, I have always appreciated nature, time to think and contemplate people and ideas of my own. Regardless my further studies, work or everyday tasks I was responsible for, I was alway able to somehow squeeze in some of my ideas of how to challenge myself, my knowledge and potential.

This made me go to my big adventure in Singapore. Trip of my life you could say, where I have found a good job in a highly respectful office. Everything was working great for me. Oh, sure it was tough at times (not to mention working until 3 am on a project for few weeks and permanent overtimes). But still I have met the love of my life, we married and got an amazing baby boy. We had dreams and plans how our life will look like, how we will be shaping our future.

We have been learning the parenting on our own. Us living in Singapore, our families being abroad. Somehow we have been slowly getting into the track, fitting into our new role and waiting for the upcoming milestones for our family. I started to work again and for a moment we felt that changes are coming, leading us slowly into the right direction.

And then, somewhere between my new role as a mother, going back to work and daily business, those plans to stay fit, go back to shape, visiting museums, etc. have been put aside. Temporarily, of course, until our Little Dot will finish 6 months… 12 months (he was still too little, wasn’t he…?), then starting from the next month (seriously!)… and the next (sure it will be better by then, right?).

I would try to use all if my management skills, all good advices, books of how to manage your time, which new mobile application to use, tips from other working moms and all ideas that have worked for me in the past. But somehow it did not work for me this time, when I wanted to figure out how to achieve the picture of my childhood home I saw as an example to follow. We have split responsibilities with my husband, we would lower our expectations, then lower a bit more and a bit more…

Still, I was more and more exhausted. With no time or possibility to venture in the nature anymore (I mean, as much as desperate I was, I would be sane enough not to take a few months old child for a hike in full sun 34 degrees shadow temperature and 95% humidity…), to have few moments of rest or relax. Or even worse, to drink a cup of water…

Then, one day, I suddenly realized that this may actually never change. I may hope for and try to change, but our life will just look like this for years and years. Until when…? What would be that magic moment, that breaking through point I believed in? In 5 years? …10?… when i retire?

I felt like whatever skills, ambitions, aspirations I used to have, they were no longer part of me. I was occupied with everyday “struggle” with, as I thought, family on the first place. Feeling miserable and exhausted.

That thought paralysed me. I was just unable to think of this and unable to find a solution. I have reached that point when I felt helpless. Each plan I had would result in  more planning, more scheduling, more time and more energy which I had no more. Wooow… that was it.

Sometimes when you feel you reached the dead end you start to look up for another way. By a strange accident, I was reading few books at the same time (a weird habit of mine since high school times) all of which suddenly made sense, merging together in my mind. What was that I was missing…? A peace of mind.

I may be a slow walker but I never go back.

Winston Churchill

All those books agreed on one. Our society is overwhelmed by information, speed, the Internet, online social media, new products we need to have, new things we need to try. It seems that we are forced to comprehend more and more things within the same amount of time. And it seems, that our mind (and soul) simply cannot catch up anymore. People rushing past me in the subway, looking into a screen of their handphone, holding they tablet in the other one, may hit me straight without noticing it. They simply keep going, following the main mass of the crowd, mindless to anything but their game on the screen.

Is it an alarm ring to see two friends chatting with each other and playing games on the  mobiles at the same time? It is the “Walle” movie screenshot all over again.

Is it a wonder we get so overwhelmed…? Although we say it’s the work, our kid, our partner, short sleep, traffic jam perhaps? We are so keen on rushing forward, that only after a while we realise that we have left our self somewhere behind.

I thought that by devoting all my time to the family I will make them happy. Is it really so? How can my boys be happy if I’m exhausted, sullen and half present? Or perhaps I can be more of a good company if I am focused on them and actually able to express how much I enjoy their company? Will it be worth considering to eat better and stay fit, so that I can have more strength to share with them?

So what is the solution…? How to get back in balance? It seems that the main thing one should do is to avoid jumping into everything. Cut off things a bit… and give some time for your brain to rest. Simplify your surrounding, activities, consumptionism. Find your solitude space.

And that’s what I want to try to do. To find places of solitude, find ways to calm the pace of everyday duties living in a big city.

I want to appreciate a quality time, question consumptionism, find a motivation to the everyday fight for my family wellbeing and still be able to keep that part of my brain empty to let it create something on its own. Growing with my family slowly but with a good result, strolling forward instead of running until my lungs are screaming for air.

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